A-P Hurd says that she can understand why people don’t like developers. “Most people don’t like change, and development is really visible,” she says. “Often, five or 10 years after something gets built, people really love it. But when you’re talking about replacing the familiar with the unknown, that’s hard for people. All we can do is what Garrison Keillor admonishes: “Be well, do good work and keep in touch.”
Born and raised in Ottawa, A-P’s career is smartly eclectic. Journalism, finance, software startup, and novelist are all part of her career path. Then she decided to go to graduate school to further her engineering skills, and found her way to sustainable and transit-oriented real estate development. Today she has SkipStone, where she works with clients like Sound Transit, the City of San Jose, Community Roots Housing and private developers bringing projects to market, sustainably.
A-P has been a faculty member in the Runstad Real Estate Department at the University of Washington, and she co-authored The Carbon Efficient City (2012) with the U of W Press. She is on the boards of CityBldr, a technology company, and Blueline Group, an engineering design firm. She also served on the board of OneBuild – a modular construction company. Currently, A-P is a board member at the Downtown Seattle Association and serves on the board of the Pacific Real Estate Institute (PREI).
Insights and Inspirations
- Livable and delightful is what all communities should aspire to be.
- Really successful cities never have a finish line.
- Expanding rail infrastructure into non-urban areas might be the next thing for A-P
- Regulations squish innovation.
Read the podcast transcript here
Eve Picker: [00:00:15] Hi there. Thanks for joining me on Rethink Real Estate. I’m on a mission to make real estate work for everyone. Real estate can help to solve climate change, can house people affordably, can create beautiful streetscapes, unify neighborhoods and enliven cities. So I’m on a journey to find the most creative thinkers and doers out there. I’m not the only one who wants to rethink real estate. You can learn more about me at EvePicker.com or you can find me at SmallChange.co, a real estate crowdfunding platform with impact real estate investment opportunities open for investment right now. And if you want to support this podcast, please join me at Patreon.com/rethinkrealestate where there are special opportunities for my friends and followers.
Eve: [00:01:16] AP Hurd says that she can understand why people don’t like developers. “Most people don’t like change, and development is really visible” she says. “Often five or 10 years after something gets built, people really love it. But when you’re talking about replacing the familiar with the unknown, that’s hard for people. All we can do is what Garrison Keillor admonishes: Be well, do good work and keep in touch.”
Eve: [00:02:02] Born and raised in Ottawa, AP’s career is smartly eclectic. Journalism, finance, software start-up and novelist are all part of her career path. Then she decided to go to graduate school to further her engineering skills and found her way to sustainable and transit oriented real estate development. Today, she has SkipStone where she works with clients like SAM Transit, the city of San Jose, community roots housing and private developers bringing projects to market sustainably. Share this podcast or go to Patreon.com/rethinkrealestate to learn about special opportunities for my friends and followers and subscribe if you can.
Eve: [00:03:03] Hello, AP, I’m really happy to talk to you today. I want to find out more about what you do. Welcome.
AP Hurd: [00:03:11] Thanks. I’m pleased to be here, Eve.
Eve: [00:03:13] And I think I’m most impressed that we share a tagline Build Better Cities. So SkipStone, your company, helps private, public and non-profit entities build better cities. And I wanted you to tell me a little bit more about what that means.
AP: [00:03:30] Sure. In answering this question might be helpful to go back a little bit to my history. So, my background is in operations and finance early in my career, but really spent the last 15 years working in real estate and development. And for about 10 years of the last 15, I worked for a company called Touchstone, which is a large regional developer in the Pacific Northwest and ran that company for a few years and then started my company, SkipStone, about three and a half years ago and pretty early into working as a developer, I became very interested in the idea that development happens a certain way because of a combination of where capital wants to invest and the regulatory framework that governs where it can invest. And the mental model that I have for this that I’ve talked about before is, you know, when you’re a kid and you have one of those playdough extruders…
Eve: [00:04:32] Oh yeah.
AP: [00:04:32] And you had a little tube and there’s a little thing, you can push through the tube and there’s little plates you can put on the front of the tube. So if you put a little star shaped plate and you push playdough through the tube, you get a little star shaped extrusion. And if you take out the star plate and you put a circle, then you get kind of a long tube extrusion. And if you put in a plate that has very, very tiny holes, you might push on the playdough thing and actually nothing comes through because the playdough is too viscous. And so the for me, this metaphor is interesting because I tend to think of the little plate that is across the front of the tube as the regulatory framework. It sort of governs what’s allowed and what’s not allowed and what can go through and what can’t go through. And then the playdough is actually the investment capital that flows to projects. And so, you know, if you’ve got a plate that’s got very tiny holes in it, you might be that’s a very that would correspond to a restrictive regulatory framework. And so you would have to push very, very hard and you’d only get a little bit of playdough to go in. And that would be the idea that if you’ve got a very restrictive regulatory framework, you might get less investment. And so, what all this is to say that in thinking about building better cities, I’ve become very interested early in my real estate career about how the regulatory framework interacts with large flows of institutional capital. And I’ve become interested in can you have a regulatory framework where the most profitable projects, so the ones that attract a lot of capital or playdough, the most profitable projects, are also the ones that align with the public interest? How can we get more investment into things that are good for people instead of just stopping investment into things that are bad for people? And so when I think about building better cities, I think about how we do both of those things. Have frameworks that let capital flow to things that serve the public interest. And I guess I would say I’m also really interested in that in the broad picture of sort of how do businesses, as a whole, get regulated. And so I’ve wound up working in areas like environmental policy and energy policy and housing policy and really trying to think at the local and state level about sort of how are we creating frameworks that can get us more of the things that our cities desperately need.
Eve: [00:07:12] So I have to ask the very big question, how close are we to frameworks that work well towards building better cities?
AP: [00:07:25] That’s a great question, Eve. I think there are several ways that you could evaluate that. One is, are our cities doing for us the things that cities need to do? And so, one of the reasons that people have always aggregated into cities or towns from much of human history isn’t because it’s prettier or nicer smelling. You think of the Middle Ages, but it’s because people can exchange things with others and particularly with others who are quite different from them. There is a pretty fundamental economic theory that the value of an exchange between two people is higher if they are more different from each other. If they have things to exchange that are more differentiated. And this is true if you’re exchanging a bolt of silk for some olive oil. But it’s also true if you pair up a lawyer and a computer programmer. If you have two computer programmers together, they might have some differences in their field and stimulate each other to think differently. But if you bring a lawyer and a computer programmer and a cook together, the kinds of things that they may be able to produce jointly are going to be more innovative and higher value. And so, to the extent that cities facilitate exchanges that drive value for people, I think cities are doing pretty well at serving a reasonable proportion of the people who live there. And that’s why across the world right now, we are seeing continued urbanization and continued in migration into cities pretty much across most countries of the world. The things that cities are not doing especially well right now, well, they have not in the last year done especially well, slowing transmission of Covid.
Eve: [00:09:24] That’s for sure.
AP: [00:09:25] They are not doing particularly well at moving people around in them as they grow past two or three million individuals in size, at least across much of the sprawling North America. They are not doing particularly well, and this is a related concept, at sheltering people in ways that are adequate and affordable, in a reasonable proximity to the jobs and interactions that are so important. So, I would say we’re doing OK. We’re still attracting people. But there are some very worrisome trends that threaten to tip the balance of cities, particularly large cities, not working so well for people.
Eve: [00:10:13] So, you know, this conversation is going to go in a different direction than I planned, but it’s sort of fascinating. So, you know, I always think that financial institutions actually have a very large say in which way the balance is going to tip even on small projects. Right. So, do financial institutions understand the need to innovate and do things a little differently?
AP: [00:10:47] That’s a good question, Eve. I think that the one of the things I’ve learned about the real estate industry is that people who control capital in real estate tend to be very risk averse. And so that makes it a very challenging industry to innovate. And I’ve wondered a lot like, why do we innovate better and faster and on quicker cycles for the companies that are making portable phone and tablet devices than we do on real estate? And I don’t think I know all the answers. But one thing that’s occurred to me is that if you’re a developer, maybe even more to the point, if you’re a major investor and certainly if you’re a contractor, you’re making in any given fiscal year, you’re making a few big bets. You’re not diversified across a ton of retail customers and you’re not diversified across a ton of customer relationships. And a lot of times those relationships are not long term because you’re buying or selling a building. So, they’re more transactional and you’re making some pretty big bets where any one bet could tip the company upside down. And that’s true as much for the investors as it is if you’re a contractor for a general contractor, your company might be working on two or three projects. And if for some reason the customer can’t pay you or you have a huge cost overrun that you have to absorb, that can also tip the supply chain upside down. So, I think that’s made all financial participants in real estate more risk averse and then consequently has made it quite difficult to innovate.
Eve: [00:12:38] Yes.
AP: [00:12:38] And certainly to innovate in ways that someone is not requiring of you. Now, just to provide a little more optimistic note. I think that also a lot of really exciting examples of people who participate in real estate and who are very focused on de-risking projects, providing a good return to investors and who also figure out how to innovate or build better cities or have a better street front experience or better designed building or contribute to the civic environment in a lot of ways. But when I see that happen, it seems to be more driven by the passion of the individuals.
Eve: [00:13:22] Yes.
AP: [00:13:22] And they’re doing it as an and, in addition to satisfying their investors as opposed to it being the path of least resistance where it’s really happening at scale. Does that make sense as a distinction?
Eve: [00:13:35] Oh yeah, it makes absolute sense. I mean, my crowdfunding platform, SmallChange.co is actually where we have the tagline Build Better Cities is actually trying to fill in that innovation gap for real estate at a very small level. So I think, I mean, I’m completely frustrated by the lack of innovation in large financial institutions, and I see it, the larger the project, the more complex the financing, the bigger the chance you’re going to you’re going to be stalled or stymied by someone who doesn’t really understand yet what you’re doing. The more you have to weigh your work your way up a ladder with a creative project, the less likely it is to happen. And I learned that really early on as a developer doing small projects. If I could find a loan officer in a bank who would basically be my ally in front of the loan committee, I had a much better chance than if I went to a larger bank, where the person I was talking to was six steps removed from the loan community. Right.
AP: [00:14:49] Um hmm.
Eve: [00:14:50] So, there’s a lot lost in translation. And it’s almost like we need the entire financial system to be educated on the value of innovation. Yeah.
AP: [00:15:05] Yeah, I mean, I think what you’re driving at Eve, is maybe even a more fundamental question that I think a lot of people have been asking over the past couple of years and what our corporations for? Right? And, yes, they have a fiduciary duty to their investors or shareholders. But do they have other duties? Do they have duties to their employees? Do they owe a standard of care to the places they operate in? And some people who are very sort of traditional economists might say, no, no, the duty of a corporation is to its shareholders. But we do accept that that’s not the case in its entirety because we have regulations now that prevent some kinds of pollution. So, we do in our legal framework, have some reflection that the duty of a company is also to not desecrate its environment. But I think that there are a lot of people, many of them much more articulate than me, who are starting to ask these questions of how corporations operate in the world. And if they are sort of the the primary entity of how we organize economically, do we need to have more clarity about sort of what their obligations are to to place and people? Because I’ll just say one more thing about this. Companies are not real. They’re a made-up construct to allow people to organize and transact with each other. And so just like money, they’re kind of a made-up convention, but that humans have come up with. And I just will say it would really be a shame if a made-up convention wound up not really serving the public interest. And I think there’s some question right now about the framework for corporations and whether on the balance they are serving the public interest adequately.
Eve: [00:17:16] Yeah, yeah. So, you know, if you can talk about this, who are your clients? And I’d love to know a bit about what you’re working on.
AP: [00:17:26] Sure. So, about half the work that I do is still really kind of traditional development advisory work. So, the company that I worked for before, Touchstone, all of our projects were transit oriented developments. And this is something in which I believe really strongly and I’m a pretty committed environmentalist and really have done a lot of work on climate change policy and energy policy. And one of the things I love about working in cities is that cities have a much lower carbon footprint per capita per inhabitant than any other land use patterns. So, cities are off to a good start, certainly in that respect, and in particular cities that have robust transit infrastructure, whether it’s rail or the much less sexy but very useful bus, cities that have those kinds of infrastructure do even better on their carbon footprint per inhabitant. So there is a ton of value to serve for the planet and economically, it turns out, to building along transit. And one of the ways that this manifests economically is if you build a house near transit, you can start out by just building a house for the person and not have to build a house for the car before you get to building the house for the person.
Eve: [00:18:52] Right.
AP: [00:18:52] So that the lower need for parking around transit has the potential to really positively impact housing pricing and access to housing. So, I’ve been really mostly focused in the world of TOD and thinking about how do we build transit oriented development that also creates great cities that people love. We don’t want to build know so efficiently around transit that suddenly it becomes inhospitable or it’s not a nice place to walk around because at the end of the day, you also need people to want to and choose to live there. But a lot of the work I do now is working with landowners and developers to bring projects to fruition around transit and to think about how to attract capital to those projects. And so really kind of all the levers, the entitlements, the outreach to the community, the project capitalization, the design and construction, and thinking about how to pull all those pieces together into a successful project financially, but one that is also accretive to the community around it. And so that’s about half my work and then the other half of my work is with public entities, cities, but also transit agencies that are trying to think about how to catalyze or bring transit to fruition. And for me, it’s really fun to wear these two hats because I’ve had such a long-standing interest in the policy frameworks that shape development and getting to work with municipalities and agencies that influence those policies. It really is a way to both get to pick what plate goes on the front of the playdough tube and to help push capital through it.
Eve: [00:20:43] So is there a project that you’ve worked on that’s come to fruition that best exemplifies what you do?
AP: [00:20:51] Well, I think one of the most interesting opportunities and I’ve had a chance to work on in the last few years is working with the regional transit agency in Puget Sound. It’s called Sound Transit, and it operates some of the buses, but also all of the light rail system. And a few years ago, I think three or four years ago, there was a bond measure passed or a referendum passed across the tri-county area, which is the three counties that encompass Seattle and the surrounding areas. That was to fund light rail expansion to the tune of about 52 billion dollars. I think it’s the largest transit measure that’s ever been passed by voters in the United States. And what that means is that we’re really expanding our rail infrastructure and sort of the backbone of it into some areas that are not as urban today. And the first reaction to that would be, well, if it’s not very urban, why are you building light rail? But if you go back and think of examples of very successful transit systems, when New York City built its subway as it was building, this is one hundred years ago, as it was building up into the areas that are now the Bronx, it was building into farmland.
Eve: [00:22:14] Yes.
AP: [00:22:14] And so there was there was even fewer people around the transit stations and the stations ultimately influenced the land use pattern. And so there can be some very significant advantages to building infrastructure early and then letting the land you shape around this. And the counter example of what isn’t so great as we’ve seen that in the United States with our freeway system is that a lot of times freeways got built and then they subsidize development around them and then the freeways got clogged up. And now you’ve got people who theoretically have access, but not during large swaths of the daytime. And so light rail expansion is pretty exciting. But it also raises the question of what kind of development is going to come up around some of these stations, particularly in places that, like I mentioned, are not not even close to being an urban land use pattern. And one of the things that has been particularly interesting to observe is that there is a large appetite for TOD, or transit-oriented development of the flavor that shows up on the cover of the ULI magazine. And when I say that, I say it a little bit tongue in cheek, but sort of seven story multifamily over retail with the cute little bakery in the ground floor.
Eve: [00:23:37] And it’s a podium building. Right?
AP: [00:23:40] Right. But also, with these very cute little businesses and eight stories high and no parking. And the reality is, if you’re starting off, whether it’s the fields of the Bronx or an industrial zone on the outside of Seattle, you’re not going to get the cute little croissant bakery on day one. And what’s been interesting is to have the conversation with people about really successful cities don’t have a finish line. It’s not like you put in light rail and you get this prototype of development and then you’re done and it never changes. And if that was to happen, it would quickly become a dying city because it would be full and it would never change. And so thinking about cities as living organisms that are never finished and that sort of build on themselves has given us a bit of a framework. And I say us, kind of collectively as a team and a group of thinkers, that it’s allowed us to ask the question of what comes first and then what comes next and are there phases to zoning and are there phases to development? And how do we think about even interim land uses or interim land use patterns? And for me, this was very interesting because I had previously developed in quite dense urban areas that were very kind of urbanized. And so looking at what is it take in a place that is not yet really a compact, mixed use land pattern. What does it take to get that wheel started? And it’s also sort of forced a reckoning of like we’re not going to be done with the first set of development. It’s going to change over time. And how do we put ourselves in a mindset of evolution rather than a mindset of just getting to some arbitrary finish line?
Eve: [00:25:43] So, you know, the other thing is I just interviewed a guest who described developers as pale and male and, um, and, you know, he said, you know, we end up with pale and male looking developments because that’s who’s driving them. So as a woman in real estate, which is still shamefully a tiny minority, how do you view that? And what are some of the challenges you’ve encountered because of your gender?
AP: [00:26:19] I was very fortunate to join a development company where the three founders were white and male, but they were incredibly supportive of my career and the career of the folks on the team. And we were able to build, you know, not what would be a diverse team by some standards, but a diverse team by real estate standards. And I think as I moved into leadership of the company, I believe strongly that people need to be able to bring their whole selves to work. They they need to not feel that there’s only a little slice of them that is accepted at work, but that they can be themselves at work in all of their glory and all of the different sides of their personality and aptitudes and passions. And that if people do that on a team, the team will be more successful. Not only will it have the benefit of more talents and aptitudes and passions, but that people will share of themselves and speak up about things that are important to them and about things they’re worried about and about risks that might be emerging. and the team will be more successful as a result. And so the company that I was in was very good. I think the founders laid a good foundation for people bringing their whole selves to work. And I really tried to perpetuate that. I, I think that within the industry as a whole, Seattle has a lot of women leaders in real estate, but I gather that’s a bit less common in other parts of the country.
Eve: [00:28:14] Yes, definitely.
AP: [00:28:16] So I would say that I’ve been very fortunate to be in a place where my gender is less of an anomaly. That being said, you know, I wouldn’t really be in real estate if I hadn’t experienced some very awkward situations. And one that comes to mind is at some point, that was when I was running Touchstone and a lender came to our office and wanted to sort of pitch the, us on a relationship with them. And we had a meeting in our conference room and there was a couple of men from this lender organization. And I had a couple of the folks on my team with me. And the lenders would only talk to the two men who worked for me.
Eve: [00:29:01] Oh, AP, I’ve had the same experience, exactly the same experience.
AP: [00:29:05] Yeah. Even when I asked them a question, they wouldn’t look at me when they answered, and they would only look at the folks who worked for me. And so, you do realize that people’s biases about who is making the decisions or who’s in charge can be pretty deep and pretty hard to overcome, even with evidence to the contrary.
Eve: [00:29:25] Yeah, I know. Pretty crazy, huh? So, you know, real estate has become a bit of a dirty word, too, or developers, should I say. So you know, but we, you and I, know that building better cities really requires developers. So how can you make people feel comfortable that real estate development is a solution that will help them have better places to live in?
AP: [00:29:52] I think two answers that come to mind to that question, Eve. The first one is when a site in a neighborhood is being redeveloped, almost regardless of what was there before, people feel a sense of loss at the thing that is going away. Even if it’s a parking lot, they feel a sense of loss. And I’ve thought a lot about why that is, because sometimes the new thing that’s being proposed is actually quite cool. And my conclusion is that people can only love what they know, and they can’t love something that they’ve never encountered. And so, there is something very natural psychologically about people experiencing the moment of redevelopment as a sense of loss, even if 10 years down the road, they love the new things so much that they can’t imagine it ever going away. But I think that creates an obligation to us as developers to try to make the new thing lovable and delightful so that even if the community has a sense of loss at the moment of redevelopment, that they eventually are made whole again and that they love the new thing that came into their neighborhood. So that’s the first answer is we probably can keep as developers through our efforts, giving people new things to love. And the love will eventually catch up. But we shouldn’t fault people for feeling a sense of loss when they don’t know the new thing yet. And then the second answer is maybe a little less positive about human psychology. And it’s this. I think that when neighborhoods are redeveloping, there is a current of conversation that inevitably comes up that is about is it consistent with neighborhood character? Are we preserving neighborhood character? And I think it’s an interesting question to ask, but it’s rarely balanced against the question of are we making room for everyone who is an immigrant to our cities, who wants to have a chance at economic opportunity? And I think neighborhood character in at its worst can wind up being a foil for people to keep others out who are not like them in the name of some lovely sentimental concept. That’s not to say that developers shouldn’t do a good job and build beautiful buildings, because that’s the first part of what I was saying. But I do think that sometimes people who want to stop development, they want to seem like good liberals. And certainly San Francisco has their share of these. But at the same time, like these good liberals are preventing really decent people who want a crack at economic opportunity from having space in their city. And when we don’t make space for other people, we are doing them harm because cities are where economic opportunity resides in this country today. And it is not just a sin of omission to not make space for those people, but it is a sin of commission. And so, I think that sometimes disliking development can be a way for good liberals to make this idea of making space into the bogeyman. Like I don’t like what those developers did, but really what they mean is they don’t like that it’s hard to make space for others. And make no mistake, it is hard to make change and make space for others. But it is so imperative that in this country we figure out how to do that.
Eve: [00:33:45] Yeah, I agree. So I mean, I think that would have been, I suppose, my third point, and that is that some people take easily to change and other people have a very hard time with it. And I remember someone showing me a bell curve with Prada at one end and, you know, a farmer at the other. And at the top of the curve was Walmart or Target. You know, when when that thing has been accepted into the the mainstream. And like, you know, I probably am at the Prada end and or maybe a little bit further up. Right. I can’t really afford Prada. But at the other end is probably my husband who doesn’t really, like, change. He like things being the same. And so I think that that’s, you know, you’re going to have a whole range of people to deal with who, who can move with the times or not, I suppose.
AP: [00:34:46] Yeah. I mean, our cities are the way they are because of a lot of historic framework, some of which are pretty ugly. And redlining is at the top of the list. But there are a lot of structural things built into our land use pattern that are fundamentally about excluding other people. And so, I think we do have an imperative to change because the way we have been is not just.
Eve: [00:35:16] Yeah, I agree. So I’m going to shift gears a bit and ask you about what innovation are you watching that you might think about in future projects or that you think is essential to watch?
AP: [00:35:29] I’d love to say mass timber because I’m working on a mass timber project, but that also feels incredibly clichéd because everybody is working on mass timber project these days, it seems like. You know, here’s one that is a little weird. If I am going back to this concept, we talked a lot about very suburban neighborhoods or even sort of industrial or undeveloped exurban areas that are urbanizing because of transit. I become very interested in the idea of grouping surface parking so that you can have compact development and buy compact, I mean, two or three story apartments that come right up to the street or row houses with a shared backyard, but that none of the structures that house people would have parking in them, the parking would be sort of getting together either a street parking or angle parking on the street or in a parking lot at the end of the block. And the advantage of ganging together the street, sorry, ganging together the parking, the surface parking is people then have a place to put their car during the period where they need a car because the neighborhood is transitioning, but the parking being aggregated in one place as surface parking, also allows it to be potentially shared with other buildings as it’s not needed so much, or maybe even in the very long term, redeveloped if it’s not needed at all.
Eve: [00:37:04] I love that idea.
AP: [00:37:04] And I have not seen that many places that are doing this. But I am having more and more conversations with cities who are starting to explore this and starting to understand that their right of way or the street is an asset that can be used for lots of things, including maybe having some parking for a period of time until it’s needed less. And that the city’s using the right of way in such a way can help stimulate development and sort of the nascent stages of urbanization around the station. So to me, that’s a really exciting idea.
Eve: [00:37:39] Oh, yeah. And it goes further because if you have a four-lane road, eventually you hope you can reduce the size of the road and that frees up even more land, right? So you get rid of cars.
AP: [00:37:51] Yeah. I don’t know if you need to totally get rid of them, but they’re useful. If you need to go to the Petco and get a hundred-pound bag of dog food, but you certainly don’t need them quite as much as we use them. I did an interesting project a couple of years ago with a community in North Seattle. This was really a grassroots community project that was funded by research and environmental organization called the Bullet Foundation in Seattle. And we took a right-of-way that was really underutilized in a neighborhood that didn’t have a lot of public space. And we created a way to close it during certain periods and also to narrow it and put in community gardens. And we painted the street and we had festivals and what was really sort of a block and a half of city street came to take a much more park like function, but a park that was really active and that gave people a destination to gather within the neighborhood during the summer. And so, it’s made me think a lot about that sort of 20 or 23 percent of of city space that is the right of way. And what are all the public purposes we can put it to?
Eve: [00:39:05] Yes. So, one last question for you. What’s your big, hairy, audacious goal?
AP: [00:39:13] I think that one of the things that I am most focused on and sort of the arc of my life is making the difference that I can on climate change, and it probably is a hairy, audacious goal because there are so many headwinds. We have a system of living and commerce and interacting with each other that depends tremendously on fossil fuel use. And so, it’s very, very hard to change those patterns. I have done work lobbying and on sort of carbon taxes and regulatory frameworks for energy use. And in addition to that, I think maybe the more promising, I’ve written a book about this, the more promising strategy is probably to give people a better way that they love more and to to delight people with an option that is more carbon efficient. And that’s probably the root of my interest in cities, because I think cities can bring people opportunity and they can also bring freedom and joy and not just economic opportunity, but sort of opportunity to live your potential and be your best self, and they provide a lot of flexibility for people to grow into their identities. And so, I think those kinds of things do bring joy. And if we can shape cities so that they continue to lower the carbon footprint per capita, but in ways that people embrace because it’s better than the old way, that maybe seems like the biggest potential for change. And I feel like I can only do a small part of that. But it’s a very exciting place to work.
Eve: [00:41:24] Well, thank you very much for the conversation. I love your upbeat take on real estate and especially the idea of delighting people. That’s a great way of looking at it. I can’t wait to see what comes next.
AP: [00:41:37] Thanks a lot, Eve. It was a pleasure talking with you.
Eve: [00:41:47] That was AP Hurd. Her mantra these days is livable and delightful. An inquiring and eclectic background led AP to where she is today, an in-demand consultant solving very large real estate challenges, all focused on sustainability. Not a straight path, but a very rewarding one. You can find out more about this episode on the Show Notes page at EvePicker.com, or you can find other episodes you might have missed, or you can show your support at Patreon.com/rethinkrealestate, where you can learn about special opportunities for my friends and followers. A special thanks to David Allardice for his excellent editing of this podcast and original music. And thanks to you for spending your time with me today. We’ll talk again soon. But for now, this is Eve Picker signing off to go make some change.
Images courtesy of Touchstone